On July 7, 63 women and girls who kidnapped by Boko Haramfrom the northern Borno state on June 18 escaped their captors. Boko Haram is still believed to be holding more than 200 schoolgirls hostage. Learn more about this shocking situation and the group behind it.
According to a Nigerian state news report, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh said the military also wasn't releasing the girls' location, but was doing everything possible to get them back. A Pentagon spokesman said U.S. officials hadn't been able to confirm the report.
On April 14, more than 200 teenage schoolgirls were abducted from the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in northeast Nigeria. Several other innocent people have been injured, abducted or killed before and since, but this mass kidnapping has been the largest to date, gaining worldwide attention.
The group responsible for the abductions is Boko Haram, which means "western education is a sin." The group is an Islamic militant group in Nigeria. The goal of Boko Haram is to "destroy the secular Nigerian state" and replace it with an Islamic state.
Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, is elusive, operating mostly in the shadows. He resurfaces every once in a while in videotaped messages to mock the effectiveness of the Nigerian military or send messages to the public. A video obtained by Agence France-Presse shows what the leader intends to do with the girls: "By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace."
This map of Nigeria showing fatalities as a result of attacks by Boko Haram from January 2011 to April 2014.
Several people have taken part in protests all over the world, including this woman, who is holding a sign supporting Islam, but standing against terrorism while demanding the release of the abducted girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos May 5, 2014.
A protester marches in support of the girls kidnapped by members of Boko Haram in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Washington May 6, 2014.
After remaining silent for three weeks, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan pledged during a nationally broadcast speech on May 4 to find the girls. "Wherever these girls are, we'll get them out," he said.
In response to public criticism that the Nigerian government's response to the crisis as being too little, too late, President Jonathan criticized the girls' parents, saying they weren't cooperating fully with police. "What we request is maximum cooperation from the guardians and the parents of these girls. Because up to this time, they have not been able to come clearly, to give the police clear identity of the girls that have yet to return," he said.
Nigeria's finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said Monday that her country's government remains committed to finding the girls, but should have done a better job explaining the situation to the public.
"Have we communicated what is being done properly? The answer is no, that people did not have enough information," Okonjo-Iweala told CNN's Richard Quest.
President Barack Obama spoke on the issue, saying, "I can only imagine what the parents are going through. So what we've done is we have offered, and it's been accepted, help from our military and law enforcement officials. We're going to do everything we can to provide assistance to them."
The search continues to gain momentum. As of May 27, more than 984,000 have signed a Change.org petition calling for the girls to be returned. On Twitter, users are using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.
On May 12, a video emerged purportedly showing some of the kidnapped girls in Muslim headdresses. Boko Haram's leader claimed they had converted to Islam, and offered to free them in exchange for prisoners.
On May 26, a top Nigerian military official said the military knows where nearly 300 abducted girl are being held, but because of where they are, the military cannot use force to rescue them.